20 May 2009

Chinese delighted by the new U.S. ambassador

Several days ago I expressed my pleasure at the choice of Jon Huntsman as an ambassador to China who speaks Mandarin. Today Asia Times indicates that the Chinese government shares that opinion:
Beijing has responded enthusiastically to the nomination of an envoy with proven sensitivity to Chinese culture and an appreciation of the nation's importance. The People's Daily hailed the appointment of "Hong Bopei", his Chinese name, as "good steel being used where it is needed most..."

Beijing expects Huntsman, as a Republican, to concentrate on issues of diplomatic and economic substance, and also to be able to keep his own party's partisan instincts under control. Beijing has somewhat exaggerated worries about Democratic Party concerns over human rights and democracy in China, which tend to be rhetorical rather than practical...While influential, an ambassador does not decide policy... But Huntsman's influence as envoy and an important politician in his own right will ensure the US avoids the gratuitous insults to Chinese dignity that characterize less sensitive and experienced American politicians.
I'll use this opportunity to recommend Asia Times as a source for news and opinion on that region; I've been checking it about once a week for the last few years. I'm not sure what its editorial biases might be, so I'd welcome opinions from TYWKIWDBI readers in that regard.

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